America is about to not have a government

emptycongress

An empty House of Representatives photographed during a recess.

When Donald Trump takes office in January, real estate and entertainment will occupy the White House, Big Oil will occupy the State Department, Wall Street will occupy the Department of Treasury, fast food will run the Labor Department, and privatizers will be entrusted with public education and criminal justice. In addition, Congress and a substantial majority of statehouses will be controlled by a party whose defining philosophy is the elimination of public institutions. For all intents and purposes, America is about to not have a government – certainly not one recognizable as democratic. Continue reading

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Election season highlights the shallowness of American democracy

Charles and David Koch are interviewed by MSNBC anchors "Morning" Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

Charles and David Koch are interviewed by MSNBC anchors “Morning” Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

No serious scholar of history or political science considers the United States a democracy. Nor is the country a Constitutional Republic, which is sometimes given as the technical term. We like to think of ourselves as democratic, but America is, more or less officially, an oligarchy. This means the people have very little influence over policy, which is instead implemented by and in favor of private concentrations of wealth.

With election season in full swing, this simple fact gets overlooked and the platitudes about democracy are pushed harder than ever by pundits and politicians. Ironically, no time in America reveals more about our democracy deficit than the presidential election cycle. Between campaigns that are bought wholesale by billionaires and a news media that frames the election in the perspective of big business, Americans really aren’t invited to participate in the process much at all. Continue reading